World Broadband Statistics – Q4 2017

Point Topic has published Q3 2017 broadband subscriber figures

At the end of Q4 2017, the quarterly growth of fixed broadband subscribers stood at 2.1 per cent. The global number of fixed broadband connections stood at 931.6m.

Summary of key findings

At the end of Q4 2017, the quarterly growth of fixed broadband subscribers decreased slightly compared to the previous quarter and stood at 2.1 per cent. The global number of fixed broadband connections stood at 931.6m.

The main trends in Q4 2017:

  • Copper connections continue to decline, having dropped by 6 per cent between Q4 2016 and Q4 2017, while FTTH connections increased by 28 per cent in the same period.
  • Three quarters of global fixed broadband subscriptions are fibre (FTTH/B/C) and cable based.
  • In more than 40 countries over half of all subscribers use fibre or cable rather than ADSL or other technologies.
  • In 12 months to the end of Q4 2017, China added nearly 70 million FTTH connections. This figure constituted 83% of global FTTH net adds in the period.

Global and regional trends


Figure 1. World broadband subscriber numbers and growth. Source – Point Topic.

In Q4 2017, the number of global fixed broadband subscribers grew by 2.1 per cent quarter-on-quarter. The growth was slowed compared to Q3 2017 but significantly higher than in Q4 2016 (Figures 1 and 2).


Figure 2. World broadband subscriber quarterly growth figures. Source – Point Topic.

In Q4 2017, 60 per cent of all net additions in fixed broadband subscribers came from East Asia (Figure 3), which also maintained the largest regional market share of all subscribers at 45 per cent. Overall, the market shares of all regions remained mainly unchanged since Q3 2017. The quarterly growth rate in East Asia has fallen to 2.8 per cent, compared to 4 per cent recorded in Q3 2017. However, growth in the rest of the world was slower too, with the highest quarterly growth rate in percentage terms recorded in Africa (3.85 per cent) (Figure 4).


Figure 3. Share of net adds in fixed broadband subscribers by region, Q4 2017. Source – Point Topic.

In Q4 2017, the next highest growth q-o-q was recorded in Asia – Other (3.3 per cent), where Vietnam added 790,000 FTTH subscribers and saw a 9 per cent quarterly growth in the fixed broadband customer base. In East Asia, China added 15m broadband subscribers and recorded a 29 per cent annual growth in FTTH connections. During 2017, 83 per cent of global FTTH net additions came from China. Italy, Brazil and France, among others, also saw FTTH quarterly growth rates in double digits.


Figure 4. Penetration and quarterly growth by region (size of bubble represents subscriber volume in Q4 2017). Source – Point Topic.

Technology trends

The share of copper based technologies (DSL, ADSL and ADSL2+) in the total subscriber figure continued to fall in all regions this quarter, especially in Oceania and Europe, where FTTH and FTTx, which includes VDSL, continues to gain more ground. The fall was least notable in Africa, where more advanced fibre and cable technologies are still very uncommon (Figure 5).

Figure 5. Technology market share by region, Q4 2017. Source – Point Topic.

Overall, the share of FTTH connections in total fixed broadband subscribers continued to increase in all regions, with highest growth recorded in Asia and Americas. At the same time, the share of cable based subscriptions dropped slightly across all regions, as subscribers migrate from legacy cable networks to FTTH and VDSL platforms as well as ‘cut the cord’ and choose mobile broadband over fixed.

In terms of annual changes, between Q4 2016 and Q4 2017 the number of copper lines globally fell by 6 per cent, while FTTH connections increased by 28 per cent (Figure 6). These figures are similar compared to the previous quarter with a prominent trend of copper to direct fibre substitution.


Figure 6. Annual growth in technology subscriber numbers (%). Source – Point Topic.

Globally, from Q3 2015 FTTH is used by more broadband subscribers than cable, following a number of fibre network upgrades to superfast speeds worldwide. At the same time, cable providers are responding with Docsis 3.1 deployments capable of gigabit speeds.


Figure 7. FTTH/B/C and cable broadband subscriptions as % of total fixed broadband connections. Source – Point Topic.

We looked at the proportion of fibre (FTTH/B/C) and cable subscribers as the percentage of total fixed broadband connections around the globe. In Q4 2017, in more than 40 countries over half of all subscribers used fibre or cable rather than ADSL or other technologies (Figures 7 and 8).

Cable subscriptions are most dominant in Canada and the United States, due to both countries deploying DOCSIS 3.1 also capable of gigabit speeds.


Figure 8. Top countries by FTTH/B/C subscriptions, Q4 2017. Source – Point Topic.

Top broadband countries

The top ten countries by the total fixed broadband subscribers remained unchanged since Q2 2016 (Figure 9). However, France regained fifth place this quarter, having been pushed down in the rating by the Russian Federation in Q3 2017. China passed a third of a billion of fixed broadband subscribers and continues to record the largest broadband net adds globally (Figure 10).


Figure 9. Country ranking by broadband subscribers in Q4 2017.  Source – Point Topic.

 


Figure 10. Country ranking by broadband net additions in Q4 2017.  Source – Point Topic.

Get access to the full report and data used in it

The data used in this report is taken from Point Topic’s Global Broadband Statistics service that allows customers to analyse the datasets covering fixed broadband subscribers in more than 120 countries at country, operator and technology level. Please telephone +44 (0)20 3301 3303 or e-mail simona@point-topic.com for more details.

Please follow and like us: